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Cactus seeds and seedlings

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Last November, I ordered seeds of 12 different Echinopsis / Trichocereus hybrids from Patrick Noll, a German hybridizer who runs a popular YouTube channel under the name Cactus Jerk . Unlike most growers who sell live plants, Patrick offers seeds of his own hybrids on his website, Trichocereus.net . While the parents are clearly stated, there’s no sure-fire way of knowing what the flowers of these hybrids will ultimately look like. If you’re interested, check out my August 2023 post to “meet” the parents. I started with approximately 240 seeds and ended up with the 82 seedlings you see below. Some have grown much faster (and larger) than others even though they have all received the same water and fertilizer – genetics at play! My goal is to grow these seedlings on until they flower for the first time. Then I’ll decide which ones to keep. I'm hoping that at least a few of these hybrids will be as beautiful as this one, Echinopsis  'Paul Ehrlich' As if 80+ seedlings weren’

Victims of the heat dome

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After 12 days above 100°F out of the last 13, we’ve finally dropped into the 90s. This means that we’re back to more or less normal temperatures for the time being. It’ll be a while yet before we’ll see the full extent of the heat damage, but it’s clear already that not every plant in our garden will make it. Below are some of the victims. On a positive note, it looks like all the plants that I covered with shade cloth are doing OK. I suppose I should invest in more shade cloth before the next heat dome arrives. It’s just a matter of time. The saddest loss first: I planted a fairly large Agave chazaroi in a metal ring a few months ago. It had been in a terracotta pot in the same spot so I thought it would be happy here. And it was, for a while, until the extreme heat arrived. I don’t exactly know what happened, but I assume water from the drip irrigation collected in the center and rot found a way in. Once the center of the rosette is this far gone, there’s no rescuing the plant. ⤥

Snapple Agave Cactus beverage

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One of my guilty pleasures is Snapple Zero Sugar Peach Tea . It combines black and green tea with natural peach flavor – and somehow this profile hits all the right notes for me. Imagine how excited I was when I spotted Snapple Elements Rain Agave Cactus on the grocery store shelf. When something is labeled “Agave,” my interest is piqued. Doubly so when it says “Agave Cactus.” Although I don’t quite know what “Agave Cactus” is supposed to be. Agaves aren’t cacti, even if some people erroneously refer to them as such. Plus, there is something commonly called agave cactus ( Leuchtenbergia principis ), maybe because its elongated tubercles give it a superficial resemblance to a small agave. But I doubt that Leuchtenbergia principis has ever been considered as a beverage flavor. Agave cactus ( Leuchtenbergia principis ) Of course, most people don’t have such confused botanical thoughts. They read “Agave Cactus” and either shrug their shoulders and move on, or they buy a bottle because th

Glimpses of the heat

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We’re still in the throes of the heat wave I wrote about last week . In the last few days, records were broken up and down the state: 127°F in Death Valley, 119°F in Redding, and 113°F in Sacramento. Although the high forecast for tomorrow is “only” 95°F, any reprieve is short-lived. By Thursday, we’ll be back up to 108°F. Cooped up inside, I was thinking of ways to photograph the heat. That proved to be quite challenging. Really, all you can do is capture the effect of the heat: Roldana petasitis in the late afternoon Roldana petasitis the next morning. The leaves do recover a bit overnight, but not completely. Aeonium leaves respond to the heat by folding inward... ...to protect the growth centers Aloe capitata closes up tight as well and turns red Some plants simply don’t make it, like this Salvia chiapensis This Dudleya pulverulenta looks dead, but it’ll magically reappear when the winter rains come. At least that’s the theory. You know it’s hot when cacti start to shrivel up T